Feedback will be gathered from July 26 through August 8 and used to help finalize the five-year action plan to ensure internet for all Pennsylvanians
Harrisburg, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) Executive Director Brandon Carson announced that public input will be gathered from community members including residents, businesses, and organizations on the draft five-year action plan to expand internet access across the Commonwealth using $1.16 billion in funding through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) plan. The new online survey is available beginning today, July 26, through August 8.
Feedback submitted by community members will help focus and finalize the development of Pennsylvania’s BEAD plan. Extending and expanding access to broadband across Pennsylvania and making connection more reliable and affordable is a top priority of Governor Josh Shapiro and his Administration.
“The Broadband Development Authority is looking for feedback on the draft plan that will be used to expand access to affordable, high-speed internet across the Commonwealth,” said Executive Director Carson. “Pennsylvania’s broadband initiative is called “Internet for All” for good reason, and input from our residents, businesses, and organizations is crucial to addressing connectivity barriers and needs.”
As part of President Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative, Governor Shapiro announced the Commonwealth will receive $1.16 billion through the BEAD Program to expand broadband infrastructure for communities lacking reliable, affordable, high-speed internet access.
The BEAD funding to the Commonwealth will be administered by the PBDA – an independent, bipartisan agency created by law in December 2021. The five-year action plan for Pennsylvania’s BEAD allocation will set the vision for the implementation of these funds.
Following federal approval of the plan, Pennsylvania is expected to receive the BEAD funding in 2024 and will then begin awarding subgrants to approved, eligible applicants.
Visit the PBDA’s website to learn more about its work to close the digital divide in the Commonwealth.
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Please see the original July 26, 2023 Press Release from Department of Community and Economic Development here.
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Library action ideas:
- Read the Draft BEAD Plan and provide feedback via the provided form before August 8, 2023.
- Share the information about broadband programs and the public comment period (on this page near the bottom) with your community, especially those who are impacted by lack of access to broadband. Spread the word about broadband programs at community events.
- Continue to promote the Affordable Connectivity Program to your community. Use the Outreach Toolkit to refresh signs or share on social media.
- Stay informed about national level action at internetforall.gov.
- Keep encouraging people in your community who don’t have access to broadband to report lack of availability on the map. Learn more here.
- Engage municipal leaders (local, county) and other community based organizations in conversation on the topic of broadband. Share what your library currently offers and what your library needs to expand services and resources to meet community needs. Listen to community needs and be ready to respond with a plan.
- Continue to train library staff to support the digital skills and training needs of your community. Use the Digital Skills map to find courses near your library or use the form to submit your own courses/technology services offered.
- Assess needs, find collaborators and create a technology plan or update your existing plan so you are prepared to apply for upcoming opportunities like those from the Capital Projects Fund (be ready for the upcoming application periods for a Multi-Purpose Community Facility Program and the Device Access Program), BEAD, and Digital Equity Act.